Family of Elijah McClain Settles Federal Civil Rights Lawsuits

The family of Elijah McClain has settled a federal civil rights lawsuit two years after McClain was killed during an encounter with police.

The city of Aurora, Colorado, and McClain’s family settled the suit for an undisclosed amount on Monday, KUSA-TV reports. It came over one year after the family filed the lawsuit in U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado.

McClain died on Aug. 27, 2019, five days after he went into cardiac arrest following a confrontation with Aurora police officers. McClain was walking home from the store with an ice tea and listening to music on his headphones when cops approached him in response to a report of a “suspicious person.”

According to the suit, McClain was subjected to “brutal force” by the cops and then sedated with ketamine for a so-called medical condition called “excited delirium,” N.Y. Daily News reports.

“Elijah was listening to music, enjoying the short walk home from the corner store with some iced tea when Aurora police officers grabbed, tackled, and assaulted him,” the suit said.

During the violent encounter, McClain pleaded with officers telling them that he was an introvert and “please respect the boundaries that I am speaking,” he said. Officers used a carotid hold on McClain, and once first responders came, they gave him a sedative.

McClain went into cardiac arrest in the ambulance to the hospital and passed away five days later. His death sparked nationwide outrage and became included in the victims’ protesters advocated for in the 2020 Black Lives Matter movement.

In August 2020, the McClain family filed a civil rights lawsuit against the city, three police officers, two paramedics, and the medical director of Aurora Fire Rescue, accusing them of violating McClain’s rights when they used a chokehold and injected him with ketamine.

“The City of Aurora and the family of Elijah McClain reached a settlement agreement in principle over the summer to resolve the lawsuit filed after his tragic death in August 2019,” Ryan Luby, deputy director of communications for the City of Aurora said.

“City leaders are prepared to sign the agreement as soon as the family members complete a separate but related allocation process to which the city is not a party,” Luby said. “Until those issues are resolved and the agreement is in its final form, the parties cannot disclose the settlement terms. No amount was discussed in the recent telephonic court hearing.”

The settlement comes one month after an investigation determined the Aurora police displayed racial bias when approaching McClain.

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